Honors Explorations Courses


Honors Explorations Courses

Honors explorations courses are topic-based general education courses taught by faculty in their particular areas of interest and expertise.  Honors students are required to complete three honors explorations courses in different areas.  Below is a list of upcoming course offerings.

Fall 2015

Religions of Iowa (HONR 230: Humanities)

Dr. Swasti Bhattacharyya

Assoc. Professor of Religion

MWF 2:00pm-2:50pm

Most people the world over know that Iowa is part of the heartland of the USA and home to agriculture and agribusiness. However, few, even within Iowa itself, are aware of the rich diversity of religious traditions growing throughout the state. Cedar Rapids is home of the “mother Mosque:” the first mosque in the country. Rocks and people have traveled from all over the world to be a part of, and see, the Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend. For the past 25 years, Postville has been home to a group of Hasidic Jews and Maharishi Vedic City (incorporated in 2001) is an Iowan town whose name is grounded in ancient religious traditions from India. These are but a few examples of the diverse religious traditions that have taken root in Iowa. In this course, beginning with the Buddhist temple in our own back yard, through reading primary and secondary texts, films, and actual visits to a number of religious centers in Iowa, we will engage the diverse voices of the men and women who practice their religious beliefs within our state.

Interim 2016

Microorganisms: Shaping Our World in Unseen Powerful Ways (HONR 220: Honors Science)

Dr. Brian Lenzmeier

Professor of Biology

Time TBD

Unbeknownst to humans, microorganisms were influencing our health, our culture, our economies, our history and our humanity for millennia.  The significant role microorganisms play in our everyday lives began to be uncovered in the 17th century by an uneducated but highly curious janitor from Holland who invented the microscope. Since that seminal moment, we’ve learned microorganisms naturally make us healthier but also kill us.  They can improve agricultural yields as well as decimate our livestock.  They can be manipulated to produce medicines or refined into biological weapons.  The overarching goal of this honors course is to explore the ever-evolving and complex relationships between microorganisms and humans.  We will begin with an examination of the science and the scientists behind influential microbiological discoveries and will progress through the semester by discussing the modern intersection between science and humanity through topics like vaccines, genetic engineering, germ warfare, and the microbiome project.

Spring 2016

Contemporary Art Concepts: Reading and Reacting to Art of the Living Artist (HONR 200: Honors Fine Arts)

Prof. David Boelter

Assoc. Professor of Art

Time Tu/Th 9:30am-10:45am

Contemporary artists utilize a range of materials, technologies, and concepts as well as push ideas as to what art is and how it can be defined. Artists today investigate concepts, questions, and rituals that look to the past, define the present, and predict the future. In such a diverse world, there is no singular way to define what contemporary art is; there are only methods of reading it, analyzing it, and responding to what it is attempting to say about the world we live in. In this course we will examine the works of contemporary artists and explore the ways that they are documenting, critiquing, and commenting on the present world, we will investigate their chosen materials both verbally and through hands-on processes, and we will diversify the manner in which we consider and define artistic language and practices.

Born in the USA: Sociological Perspectives on Contemporary American Culture (HONR 210: Honors Social Science)

Dr. Bryan Kampbell

Assoc. Professor of Communication & Honors Program Director

Tu/Th 12:00pm-1:15pm

This course will examine recent academic research in Sociology as well as popular social commentary in order to understand contemporary American society better. Topics may include but will not be limited to: trends in income distribution; shifts in marriage and family life, polarization of political culture, heightened religious conflict, the changing world of work, rural/urban relations, and other areas of interest to students. As future leaders in professional and civic contexts, honors students will consider how we can engage the complexity of the social world, how we can manage it, and how we can lead into it. To that end, iconoclastic, “alternative” or “third way,” perspectives will feature prominently. Seminar-style class sessions will focus on discussion of assigned readings. Students will research an interdisciplinary social science topic of public importance that is of personal and/or professional interest, prepare an academic paper based on their findings, and present the material in an oral presentation.

Fall 2016

HONR 200: Honors Fine Arts

Dr. Merrin Guice

Asst. Professor of Vocal Music

Time TBD

Description TBD

HONR 230: Honors Humanities

Dr. Bryan Kampbell

Assoc. Professor of Communication

Time TBD

Description TBD

Interim 2017


Spring 2017

HONR 210: Honors Social Science

Dr. Brad Best

Professor of Political Science

Time TBD

Description TBD

HONR 221/222/223: Honors Science

Dr. Kristy McClellan

Assoc. Professor of Biology

Time TBD

Description TBD